Remarkable Remedies For Healing Your Gut Microbiome

Our gut is home to a large, diverse and dynamic population of micro-organisms that serve numerous purposes, including the breakdown and absorption of nutrients, immune system function, even cognitive function. There are millions of little organisms in our bodies which are crucial to our overall health and wellness. An imbalance in their ecology can have a profound impact on our life experience.

Most people know of antibiotics killing off the good bacteria along with the bad. Antibiotics can be incredibly important in certain cases, such as Lyme disease. However, the rampant and unchecked use of antibiotics in this country is wreaking havoc on our gut microbiome.

Factors causing a compromised gut

Stress severely compromises the quality of digestive function. The inflammatory pathway set in place by living in a state of chronic stress and anxiety affects a wide range of physiological functions, including the digestive system.

High levels of cortisol reduce the integrity of the intestinal lining, loosening the tight junctions that control what we absorb. This invites substances into the bloodstream that are usually filtered out. The result? Leaky gut.

The typical Western diet of processed foods alters the flora within the gut as opposed to a diet rich in vegetables and fibers. Eating a diet rich in sugar and high in refined carbohydrates helps to feed the pathogens which causes an imbalance in the gut.

Water is huge in causing a gut imbalance. Why? Chlorinated and fluoridated water destroys the beneficial bacteria in the gut resulting in an imbalance.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are responsible for inflaming the gut lining and affecting the delicate balance of good bacteria.

Many GMO foods and some non-organic foods such as wheat contain herbicides that destroy the beneficial bacteria within the gut.


Herbs with mucilage

Remarkable Remedies For Healing Your Gut MicrobiomeSlippery Elm (Ulmus rubra) is named because its the inner bark that produces the rich, slimy mucilage when mixed with water. This mucilage is slippery to the touch, soothing, and loaded with prebiotic starch. We can’t break down these chains of rhamnopyranose and galacturonic acid, but they support a healthy mucous layer in the GI tract and serve as food for beneficial bacteria too.

Mix the powder into tea, brewed at a relatively low temperature (180F), or to cooked grains like oatmeal after they’re off the heat. Its mild flavor makes it a favorite way to get your prebiotic fiber. Use between two teaspoons and two tablespoons a day.


Remarkable Remedies For Healing Your Gut Microbiome

Marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis) helps soothe irritation and inflammation in the digestive tract. It stimulates tissue regeneration and mucous activity. The mucilage content creates a protective layer of tissue on the lining of the digestive tract.

Take 2–5 ml of liquid marshmallow extract 3 times per day. Or mix 1 tsp of marshmallow root in a cup of boiling water, cover and let sit for 10 minutes, then drink.


Remarkable Remedies For Healing Your Gut Microbiome

Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) helps your body repair your gut lining by replenishing the mucus that creates a healthy intestinal barrier. Be sure to use deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL). DGL is made using a process that extracts the glycyrrhizin from the whole licorice. Glycyrrhizin raises blood pressure.

It is also an adaptogen, helping your body deal with different stressors in your life.

Licorice is taken as a tea, extract or capsule form. The shaved root is easily made into a tea by steeping a tablespoon of the shavings in a cup of boiling water.


Digestive Bitters

Bitters are a combination of herbs that are exactly what they sound like: bitter. Taking bitters before a meal stimulates the release of digestive secretions, stimulates peristalsis, enhances nutrient absorption, and tones the lining of the digestive tract.


Remarkable Remedies For Healing Your Gut Microbiome

Dandelion root (Taraxacum) is a classic digestive tonic that includes a good amount of inulin and other prebiotic starches, especially when harvested in the fall. One of the reasons plants make these molecules is for long-term energy storage, which is concentrated in the roots. In spring the plant has reserves it uses for new green growth. But for us, fall-harvested dandelion roots are coarsely chopped and roasted over low heat for 5-10 minutes, or until a nutty aroma develops. The roasted roots make a valuable tea; brew one tablespoon per cup of boiling water.

Dandelion root is an especially good companion to your probiotic supplement or fermented foods.


Remarkable Remedies For Healing Your Gut Microbiome

Oregon grape root (Mahonia) is an excellent herb in bringing balance to the microbiome and supporting liver function and bile production. It is quite bitter, making a tincture the easiest way to experience its benefits.

Try 60-90 drops in a little water, twice daily before meals. As a bitter tonic, you’ll see relief from the common, mild symptoms of digestive upset. Oregon grape root is hard at work for a great microbiome.




Remarkable Remedies For Healing Your Gut Microbiome

Are rich in digestible carbohydrates as well as prebiotic starch. While we can’t digest this starch directly, it is an important source of nutrition for the microbial ecology. Prebiotic starches are vital and we rely on a few key plants that provide an abundant, varied source to support a thriving microbiome. With any prebiotic starch, start slow at first to see how your digestive system reacts. Take them around mealtime as they are very food-like.

Feeding the good bacteria strains of prebiotics allows for many regulatory benefits within the gut, especially barrier function. Prebiotics help prevent increases in intestinal permeability and damage to the intestinal barrier. Pathogenic bacteria and overgrowth of certain strains such as C.dificile produce metabolites which drive some characteristics of leaky gut.


Remarkable Remedies For Healing Your Gut Microbiome

Burdock (Arctium) eat these big roots just as you would a carrot, stir-fried, grated into a salad or simmered into a soup. Burdock brings a delicious, mildly bitter and earthy flavor to your dishes. Another option to eating the root is to pickle or brine the roots. But for the microbiome, it is hard to find a richer source of inulin and prebiotic starch. Burdock root supports healthy skin and has the ability to build a healthy microbiome. The bitters are gentle and assist with detoxification.

A tincture, taken in doses of 1/2 teaspoon two or three times a day, has good bitter tonic qualities. You want the whole root in food-like doses to maximize the benefit to gut flora. One large root (eight inches long or so) is a good daily amount. The equivalent dose of powder is high: three or even four tablespoons per day is not unreasonable. Mix smaller quantities of 1 or 2 tsp with grains or infuse into a tea which helps give flora the food it needs.


Remarkable Remedies For Healing Your Gut Microbiome

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) because of its popularity over the years, it is an at-risk botanical. Use it sparingly and for short periods of time.

Goldenseal is a bitter and improves your digestion. The root has a cleansing and antibiotic effect which helps soothe inflammation in the digestive tract, reducing irritation to help your body better absorb nutrients. The root maintains a balanced microbial population.

The dose is 1/4 tsp two or three times a day is low, and you take it for two weeks or less. If you want to try goldenseal root beware of its strong bitter flavor. The tincture is quite useful despite its low starch content, at doses of 15-45 drops.


Prebiotics and their sources


Remarkable Remedies For Healing Your Gut Microbiome

Oats and mushrooms like reishi, white button, and shiitake are an abundance of soluble fiber. Pectins are another type of soluble fiber found in high quantities in apples, peaches, grapefruit, carrots, potatoes, and peas.

Non-digestible carbohydrates act as prebiotics and are available in onions, leeks, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, and asparagus.

Resistant starch is similar to fiber, it resists digestion and feeds colonic microflora. It is in oats, legumes, green bananas, garlic and cooled rice.


Remarkable Remedies For Healing Your Gut Microbiome

Ginger (Zanzibar Officinalis) is a prebiotic and has antimicrobial properties which are very helpful for a healthy microbiome. Ginger increases the growth of beneficial bacteria such as Bifidobacterium spp. and Lactobacillus spp. The root inhibits the growth of pathogenic bacteria.

In a balanced digestive system, the beneficial bacteria far outnumber the pathogens. In fact, they play a large role in keeping the pathogens in check. Imbalances are induced through diet, stress, infection or as a result of conventional antibiotic treatment. By consuming the foods listed above, you are well on your way to healing your gut microbiome.

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